©Royal Armouries

The army of Sultan Ibrahim Lodi at Panipat contained a large number (Babur in his memoirs claimed 1,000) of war elephants. It is likely that many of them were armoured. The Royal Armouries elephant armour is the only example of its type surviving in a public collection, and the heaviest armour in our collection, weighing 118 kg. Two of the three mail-and-plate panels for the right side are missing, and it would originally have weighed 159 kg. It comprises 5,840 plates from an original 8,439. It was brought back to England in 1801 by Lady Clive, wife of Edward 2nd lord Clive, Earl of Powis, while he was Governor of Madras. The story that it was taken by the 1st Lord Clive at the battle of Plassey in 1757 is pure supposition based on its preservation at Powis castle. It was placed on loan to the Armouries in 1949 for conservation, and given permanently to the Armouries in lieu of death duties in 1962. xxvia.102

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